Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

ORT Review
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (luba7@bu.edu)
Research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology and Policy
at Boston University

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

- Jaba Ioseliani, the former leader of the disbanded Mkhidrioni (The Horsemen, a Georgian paramilitary organization) met with fighters in the Kodor Gorge and promised to help them fight the Abkhaz if Georgian authorities do not. The seventy-five year-old -- once a professor of fine arts -- was arrested in 1995, convicted of an assassination attempt against Edvard Shevarnadze, and released under an amnesty about six months ago. Ioseliani is currently running for parliament under a slogan demanding the return of Abkhazia.

- Abkhaz President Vladislav Ardzinba appeared before television crews for the first time since the beginning of the conflict and commented on the current situation. His vice president, Valerii Arshba declared that Abkhazia is preparing to repel possible large-scale Georgian aggression. He also refuted reports that field commander Ruslan Gelaev and his men, who escaped encirclement yesterday, have made their way to Sukhumi and to the Gagra resort region.

- Abkhaz forces have almost completed an operation in the Sakharnaya Golova mountain where some of the fighters were blocked.

- Edvard Shevarnadze met with members of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) delegation and suggested widening the international presence in the region of the Abkhaz-Georgian conflict. He does not insist on the complete withdrawal of Russian troops, but just partial replacement. He still feels that Russia's participation is key to the regulation of the conflict.

- In connection with the threat of anthrax, representatives of Russia's power structures and health ministry set up a special operative headquarters to improve security measures in Russian post offices.

- Thirty-six Tuva residents who have had contact with cows that died from an unidentified disease now suspected to have been anthrax will receive preventive treatment.

- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with representatives of the Business Russia parliamentary group to discuss small and medium business in Russia. President Putin also suggested the creation of a consultative organ to work with the Russian government. After the meeting the parliamentarians stated that developing such a dialogue is very useful and expressed hopes for its continuation.

- Mikhail Shmakov, the head of the Federation of Independent Professional (Labor) Unions of Russia met with the Voronezh oblast labor union council. He declared that minimum wage must be raised to 6,000 rubles (about $200) a month and average wage to 15,000 (about $500) rubles. Current average wage in Voronezh is 760 (about $25) rubles. More than a third of the region's residents live below subsistence level.

- The Russian General Prosecutor's office has refuted reports that the investigation of the TU-154 crash has been discontinued.

- Russian hacker Vasily Gorshkov has been convicted of internet fraud. Each of the 20 counts carries a five-year prison term, so Gorshkov could face 100 years behind bars.

- Renown film director Yuri Ozerov passed away last night at the age of 81.

- Several thousand soldiers and officers are taking part in military exercises in the Maritime region.

- Forty mountain climbers have been called in to help insulate 500 high-rise apartment buildings in Omsk for the winter season.

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